Speed Reads

better late than never

Academy apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather, who turned down Marlon Brando's 1973 Oscar in protest

The group behind the Oscars has issued an apology almost 50 years in the making. 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather over the way she was treated at the 1973 Oscars, when she famously turned down an award on Marlon Brando's behalf. She was booed on stage as she explained that Brando could not accept his Oscar for The Godfather due to "the treatment of American Indians today" in Hollywood. 

This protest led to Littlefeather being "professionally boycotted, personally attacked and harassed, and discriminated against for the last 50 years," the Academy noted. She has said John Wayne had to be restrained from attacking her on stage, according to The Hollywood Reporter

"The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified," Academy President David Rubin said in an apology to Littlefeather. "The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable." 

Rubin also praised Littlefeather's "powerful statement." The Academy is now set to host An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather, a "program of conversation, reflection, healing, and celebration" with Littlefeather at the Academy Museum in September. Littlefeather said she "never thought I'd live to see the day," calling the Academy Museum program a "dream come true."

"Regarding the Academy's apology to me, we Indians are very patient people — it's only been 50 years!" she said. "We need to keep our sense of humor about this at all times." 

Littlefeather added that it's "heartening to see how much has changed" since 1973.